An ally of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe asked current President Juan Manuel Santos to condemn Venezuela’s refusal to allow Uribe’s team entrance to support the country’s opposition in the run up to next year’s elections.
Alfredo Rangel, a security analyst who aligned with Uribe to support Venezuela’s opposition, told Caracol Radio that “to me this seems a hostile act against Colombia on behalf of [Venezuelan] President [Hugo] Chavez and I expect a response from the government whose obligation it is to defend Colombians.”
Chavez said on national radio Saturday that Rangel and Jose Obdulio Gaviria, Uribe’s former presidential adviser, are not allowed to visit Venezuela to assist an anti-Chavez mayor and threatened to arrest them if they decided to enter the country illegally.
Gaviria, the cousin of slain drug lord Pablo Escobar and in his own country involved in a number of scandals, accused Chavez of refusing entry to “experts, especially those on democratic issues” while allowing entry to members of rebel group FARC.
According to the controversial Uribe aide, Chavez “very enthusiastically receives [FARC leaders] ‘Timochenko’, ‘[Rodrigo] Granda’, ‘Ivan Marquez’ or ‘El Cantante’, rebel commander, and Piedad Cordoba, a former senator who mediated in favor of these guerrillas.”
Uribe and his team have increasingly been involved with Venezuelan opposition figures who face Chavez in next year’s elections.
Colombia’s former President is one of Chavez’s fiercest critics and has accused the Venezuelan leader of supporting Colombian rebel groups and meddling in last year’s Colombian elections.